The early reviews are in and to the agitation of this particular editor, the reviews are praising Apple's HomePod as one of the best on the market.
However, bias aside, Apple hit a home run with the HomePod hardware, only to have the software push it back in play for a warning track pop fly to end the inning. The eight-speaker set-up of the HomePod allows big noise from a small can, pushing all the competition to the side. Its highs don't drop off, the bass is the clearest on the market, and the A9 processor scans the room constantly to control each individual driver. The software can push ambient sounds - with attention to left and right orientations - and then broadcast a direct sound to the user. Google talked a lot about using A.I. to create a better sounding speaker, but Apple was the first to accomplish it even with a delayed shipping date.
And that's where the HomePod stops winning.